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Something new is brewing in Hong Kong’s bubble tea market – a fierce battle for market share set off by the drink’s wild popularity.
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The tea and milk concoction known for its seabed of chewy tapioca pearls has been around Hong Kong for more than a decade. But it’s being colourfully reinvented for a new generation of fad-hungry, selfie-snapping customers.
The once bland pearls can now bounce about a cup in a rainbow of hues. Eye-catching patterns of ingredients include tiger stripes made of brown sugar. The ever-growing choices of unconventional toppings include creamy cheese. And chic indoor cafes are taking on grab-and-go street shops.
The drink’s fresh look explains the legion of new fans queued up along Hong Kong’s often brutally steamy sidewalks.
It also hints at the wave of new bubble tea shops preparing to open here, some branches of established local businesses hungry to expand, and others from operators in Taiwan, Beijing and other cities where bubble tea is also in vogue.
“One of the reasons I come is because I can take a picture and post it on social media, to show people that I am drinking this,” said Jan Cheung, a 26-year-old office worker standing in a long queue at the trendy Tiger Sugar shop near Causeway Bay’s upscale Times Square shopping complex.

KeyWords Tag:bubble tea maker equipment